CABE’s newly set up Eco Town Design review panel, chaired by Sunand Prasad, met for the first time in December. Working with Communities and Local Government (CLG) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) the special design review panel was set up to provide expert advice on the quality of designs for the government’s four designated eco towns: Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire; Rackheath in Norfolk; North-West Bicester in Oxfordshire; and St Austell in Cornwall. The panel will look for schemes that demonstrate that the towns will be coherent, enduring and high-quality places to live, while also achieving exemplary standards of sustainability and environmental responsiveness.

Sunand Prasad said “The eco-town programme is all about learning by trying out sustainable, low carbon planning and design solutions that are more difficult and time consuming to try out in heavily constrained existing settlements. However, the ultimate point of this learning is to find solutions that we can apply widely. The eco-town programme is not about quantity of units but the quality and sustainability of future urban environments. A successful eco-town will be a place where people want to live, not just one that ticks the boxes.”

For more on the panel’s members and activities please go to